Rossi Fastest at First Day of Suzuka Testing

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Italian Valentino Rossi set the fastest 500cc times on the first of the three day GP test at the Suzuka circuit in Japan, the venue for the opening round of the 2001 World Championship.

Nastro Azzurro Honda rider Rossi ended the day four-tenths of a second faster than Spaniard CarlosCheca (Marlboro Yamaha) with Noriyuki Haga (Red Bull Yamaha) setting third fastest time a fullsecond behind Rossi...

Rossi was happy with the first day of testing with the new NSR500 Honda. "We have no chatteringproblems at this track." Said Rossi. "We were quite quick in finding the right balance for mybike. I am very happy with the first day of testing, we worked well and my team was focused onsuspension settings. This three day test session is very important to set up the motorcycle forthe first GP and today's results give me a boost." Rossi rode 21 laps on the first day.

Only four riders tested their 250cc GP machines on the first day of the test. Daijiro Katoh,riding the Telefonica MoviStar Honda, was by far the fastest man on the day.

Katoh, a three-times 250cc GP winner at Suzuka, was in mercurial form all day. His time of 2m07.953s was faster than his best time at the GP last season and well under the lap record.

At the end of the first days testing Katoh said. "We concentrated mainly on the suspensionsettings today to improve my feeling on the NSR250. At the end of the day I was completely at easeon the bike and it shows in my lap times. I'm very happy."

Team-mate Emilio Alzamora, riding a 250cc machine at Suzuka or the first time for four years, didnot set the times he had hoped for. For Alzamora it is a matter of as much track time as possiblewit the NSR before the season opens on April 8. The Spaniard has two more days at Suzuka toimprove his times and few doubt he will.

Suzuka test times 500cc:1. Valentino Rossi, I Nastro Azzurro Honda 2m 06.179s.2. Carlos Checa, E Marlboro Yamaha 2m 06.522s.3. Noriyuki Haga, J Red Bull Yamaha 2m 07.257s.4. Loris Capirossi, I West Honda Pons 2m 07.333s.5. Kenny Roberts, USA Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki 2m 07.345s6. Norick Abe, J Antena 3 Yamaha 2m 07.451s7. Shinya Nakano J Gauloises Yamaha 2m 07.489s.8. Max Biaggi, I Marlboro Yamaha 2m 07.564s.9. Garry McCoy, AUS Red Bull Yamaha 2m 07.575s.10. Alex Barros, Bra West Honda Pons 2m 07.816s.11. Tohru Ukawa, J Repsol Honda 2m 08.121s.12. Alex Criville, E Repsol Honda 2m 08.589s.250cc times:1. Daijiro Katoh, J Telefonica MoviStar Honda 2m 07.953s2. Naomi Matsudo, J Yamaha 2m 10.144s.3. Sharol Yuzy, MAL Yamaha 2m 12.758s4. Emilio Alzamora, E Telefonica MoviStar Honda 2m 13.043s.
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